Imagine this- you are walking alone at night through an empty road. And suddenly you hear a loud sound that you can only describe as a ‘Banshee’s Wail.’ What will you do? Will you run?
What if I tell you that the sound you heard was not a Banshee but rather just a harmless little owl? Yes, the barn owls tend to screech which might sound horrifying but one look at their cute faces and you will probably fall in love with them.
Do you want to know more about these pretty birds so that you can answer any questions your little one has? Then keep reading about these 11 amazing barn owls facts for kids.
11 Most Interesting & Fun Facts about Barn Owls for Kids
Barn owls are one of the prettiest looking owls. They are small in size, fluffy and one look at their cute faces, and you probably will want to hold them.
These birds of prey are one of the most common species of owl all over the world. They are very easy to spot too, because of their striking white head.
Enough with the introduction, let us get into the amazing barn owl facts.
1. Barn owls have amazing eyesight and soft feathers
This should no longer come as a surprise. we all know that owls in general, have great eyesight, especially at night. The barn owls are not different.
One barn owl’s eyesight is twice more sensitive than the average human’s eyes. This makes them great hunters. They are able to detect the slightest movements.
Additionally, their super soft feathers make it easier for them to sneak up on their prey.
2. Barn owls tend to be non-territorial
This trait is exceptional among the barn owls. Most other owls tend to be territorial, often pushing out other owls to claim territory. For example, the barred owls are known to expand their territory.
However, that is not the case for the barn owls. They can survive peacefully together in overlapping territories.
In case you want to know more about the barred owls, you can check out our article on the same- 11 Amazing Barred Owl Facts for Kids
3. Barn owls shed feathers periodically
One of the most amazing facts about barn owls is that they periodically shed their feathers! Unlike snakes, that shed their skins, these owls abrade their feathers and replace them with new ones periodically.
Females do it when they are incubating the eggs. On the other hand, males do that when abundant food is available.
4. Barn owls practice monogamy
Like most owls, the barn owls too, practice monogamy. They will have one partner throughout their lives.
It is very rare (and when I say rare, it is almost never) for barn owls to practice polygamy and have multiple partners.
5. Bran owls are subject to superstitions
Barn owls have a fair share of superstitions attached to them. For example, in England, it was believed that seeing a barn owl is a symbol of impending death.
Famous poets like William Wordsworth have called the barn owl his favorite bird of doom. The Newuks of California believes that the brave and virtuous become the great horned owl after death whereas the wicked ones are cursed to become the barn owls.
6. They have weird ears
Barn owls are beautiful looking creatures. They have heart-shaped faces and the ears are placed behind the eyes. However, the ears are placed asymmetrically and one is always placed higher than the other!
This helps them to understand the direction of the sounds and it comes in handy while hunting.
7. Barn owls do not hoot, but screech
When it comes to owls, there are a lot of misconceptions. The most common one is that all owls hoot. However, that is not the case for barn owls.
Unlike other owls, barn owls screech. And this screech is not a sound you would want to be around. It is extremely loud and often described as ‘ear-shattering’.
8. For barn owls, food availability determines number of eggs laid
One ought to learn family planning from barn owls. Yes, you read that right.
For these owls, the more food available around them, the more they will lay eggs. So, if the food around is not that much, they will make sure to lay as few eggs as they can.
On the other hand, if there is abundant food around, a couple of barn owls can lay eggs twice!
9. Barn owls have relatively small life spans
Unfortunately, barn owls do not have a large lifespan. They survive on an average for 5 to 8 years. There has been a study which shows that most barn owls die within the first year of its lives.
However, there are exceptions and there was a barn owl in Ohio that had lived up to 15 years.
10. Barn owls are great for pest control
The diet of the barn owls mainly consists of pests, voles, mice, and shrews. Needless to say, that these owls are amazing for pest control.
So, if you are facing pest trouble, you can get these pretty looking owls to help you out with that. However, do not think you can get them as pets though. It is illegal to keep an owl as a pet. So, unless you want to be behind bars, don’t think of getting barn owls as pets.
11. Unfortunately, barn owls are endangered species
One would think, being such majestic creatures barn owls are not in any kind of danger. However, that is further from the truth. Barn owls are listed as endangered species because of reasons like too much pesticide use and climate changes.
How are Barn Owls different from Common Owls?
Barn owls are inherently different from other owls in the following ways-
- Firstly, no other species of owl have a heart-shaped face and tiny eyes
- Secondly, barn owls are the only ones who screech while the rest of the owls hoot
- Lastly, barn owls are non-territorial as opposed to other owls who can get very violent.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
One can find barn owls everywhere. They will usually put their nests in the holes of the trees, caves, cliff edges, and even human made structures like statues and houses.
The striking feature of barn owls is the face which is white with big black beady eyes. They are usually a mix of buff and grey all over.
Like most other owls, barn owls too, sleep during the day and hunt at night. They sleep standing up by fixing their claws to branches or any other surface.
Barn owls are relatively small in size measuring anywhere between 32 cm to 40 cm and can weigh anywhere around 430 g to 620 g.
Barn owl babies, like all owl babies, are called owlets.
Baby barn owls eat whatever their parents get for them which includes meat of pests, rats, and voles.
Barn owls usually screech at night to either communicate with each other or if they feel threatened.
Barn owls are known for their screeches that can scare a human being. It is called a Banshee’s Wail because it is almost ear-shattering.
It is unlikely that a barn owl will kill a cat unless it does not have anything else to eat.
A barn owl usually lives for 5 to 8 years.
Unfortunately, yes, barn owls are indeed endangered.
That was it, folks! You have reached the end of the article, ’11 Amazing Barn Owls Facts for Kids.’ Hopefully, you and your little one had a great time learning about these pretty creatures of nature.